Thursday, May 27, 2010


I was speaking with a few of my crazy cat friends recently about our favorite kittie movies from childhood. It was pretty much unanimous that our all-time favorite was The Three Lives of Thomasina (1964) with Patrick McGoohan and Susan Hampshire. Here's what Amazon has to say:

"A beloved tabby cat becomes the catalyst for healing and hope between a young girl and her widowed father in Disney's 1964 classic, based on the enchanting fable by Paul Gallico. Set in the Scottish highlands in 1912, the story focuses on Andrew MacDhui (Patrick McGoohan) a veterinarian who, after the death of his wife, has closed his heart to goodness and empathy-- toward his animal patients and his only child. Left essentially an orphan, Mary (Karen Dotrice) finds love from her cat, Thomasina, until a tragedy injures the cat and her father orders it to be killed. A tenderhearted maiden (Susan Hampshire) finds Thomasina, detects a heartbeat, and nurses the feline back to health. Her healing powers eventually move beyond the animal kingdom into the lives of MacDhui and Mary. The stellar cast includes standout performances by Dotrice and Matthew Garber (who plays Mary's loyal chum)--better known as the duo, Jane and Michael Banks, in Mary Poppins. Best watched with kids and Kleenex." (Ages 5 and older) --Lynn Gibson

Yup, my tissue box is by my side!


Managing a cat colony requires the understanding and support of at least one veterinarian. I am extremely fortunate that I can rely on two talented and brave doctors, both of whom are NOT afraid of dealing with feral cats, and charge greatly reduced fees for treating this population. From time-to-time ferals do become sick or injured and need to be re-trapped and taken in for treatment. Fortunately, having a vet who will provide you with an antibiotic such as clindamycin is helpful because the cat can often be treated at the colony without the stress of being trapped and caged at a clinic.

Samson's first injury was a deep bone injury, so I gave him 150mg of clindamycin once a day for two weeks. Medicating him with 75mg twice a day, the way I might for my house cats, was not a possibility, so he got the full daily dose at one sitting. For most caregivers, getting a feral to eat medicated food once a day is about all one can hope for. I found the best method was to mix the content of the capsules in two to three tablespoons of his favorite food (Fancy Feast Ocean Fish Feast) in a small paper dish. I also placed a few tablespoons of the food on dishes for the other cats, so that all would have their own and leave Samson alone. One of the hardest parts of medicating is making certain the cat in question is the only one that eats the dosed food. I have been told by experienced caregivers not to worry if the cat does not ingest every morsel of medicated food. While it is best for the cat to receive the full protocol of medication, my cat whisperer friends also reassure me that four or five--and not always consecutive--doses over several days is better than nothing. I saw this play out with Thomas Moore who had an abscess on his back leg. I was not able to medicate him every day, as he did not always show up at the feeding station. However, four doses of 150mg of clindamycin spread out over eight days seemed to do the trick and he recovered quite well.

Let me add here, however, that had Thomas or Samson not shown improvement in a reasonable amount of time--say, two weeks, I would have tried to retrap. Re-trapping is a topic unto itself. If you have a cat that refuses to go back into a traditional trap I have one suggestion: find someone who is familiar with using a "drop-trap"


After receiving a full two weeks of antibiotics, and experiencing a near full recovery (fur is still growing back on his hind paw), Samson is injured again. Although I do not see a bite wound or abscess, Samson is not putting weight on his front left paw. Donna gave me another eight days of clindamycin--in case he does not show improvement on his own. I'll give him a few days before medicating.....